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Finding the Right Balance: How Often Should Your Puppy Attend Daycare?

Introduction:

Embarking on the journey of bringing a new puppy into your home is quite the adventure, filled with moments of joy and laughter. However, as responsible pet owners, the challenge lies in finding the optimal balance between our own commitments and our pal’s essential need for socialisation and care. A solution that has gained significant popularity in recent years is the concept of doggy daycare. Yet, the question lingers: How frequently should your puppy attend daycare, and does the answer hinge on the offerings of the daycare provider?

Considerations:

The Daycare Provider:
It’s important to understand that not all doggy daycares are the same; their operations, experience and processes can vary widely. When deciding on the frequency of daycare for your puppy, it’s crucial to consider what the daycare provider offers.

Is the care tailored to your pups breed and age? All dog daycare providers in the UK must be licensed and regulated. However, the government guidelines for puppies, at this time, simply stipulate that dogs under 12-months of age must be separated from those over 12-months of age (unless owner consent is given). At Acres 4 Dogs we understand that this is neither rigid nor accurate enough to provide proper care for puppies. The broad-brush regulation would allow for a lively 25Kg, 11-month-old Lab to be paired in the same group and cared for under the same processes as a 13-week-old Dachshund. Clearly a miss-match with safety issues as well two dogs that have entirely different needs.  

The needs of a young pup differ significantly from those of an older pup as well as adult dogs. Quality daycares recognise this and tailor their services accordingly. Does the daycare have the environment and processes in place to cater for your Pup? Puppies require a lot of REST, the amount of which reduces as the puppy ages. It is imperative that day care centres provide MANDATORY rest periods for puppies throughout the day, the frequency of which reduces as the puppy ages. Do not rely on government regulation to impose these processes on Doggy Day Care providers, at this time it does not! 

Your Schedule and your dog’s routine:
Consider your own commitments. If you have a busy work schedule or other obligations, daycare can be a valuable solution to ensure your puppy gets the attention, exercise, and socialisation they need. Will daycare be a service that your dog needs multiple days a week into adulthood? Or will daycare just be a grand day out once a week, provided as a benefit for your adult dog? This should be considered when deciding how frequently to send your dog to daycare as a puppy.

Your Pup:
At Acres 4 Dogs we have been integrating pups into our environment since 2010. We know all too well that all pups are different. While some pups integrate better with just a day or two a week, others integrate better five days a week. On very rare occasions, some pups simply don’t take to daycare at all, often returning when grown, with better results. A quality day care provider will give you feedback and may suggest increasing or decreasing days to achieve the best balance.  

Conclusion:

There is no one size fits all answer, and the vast majority of puppies benefit from some amount of daycare. The important thing is that your chosen daycare centre is providing the correct ratio of rest and activity, tailored to your pups age and breed. If so, your pup will do perfectly well in daycare five days a week and will benefit greatly from the socialisation, should your schedule require that frequency. On the other hand, your puppy will still benefit greatly from just one day a week of daycare. Furthermore, they will gain benefit from the variety that other experiences, outside of daycare, will bring.

The better question to ask is not how often should my puppy attend daycare, but does my daycare provide what my puppy needs (now and throughout the stages of puppyhood) and is my puppy happy at daycare? If both are answered in the affirmative, then there is no right or wrong answer to the question ‘how often?’

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